Don’t Forget These Essentials for Raising Chicks: A Checklist.

Raising chicks can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming, especially if you’ve lost your checklist of things to get for them. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, I’ll share with you a comprehensive list of the essential items you’ll need for your chicks, so you can feel confident and prepared when they arrive. From electrolyte powder to temperature gauges, we’ll cover everything you need to ensure your chicks have a healthy start to life. So, let’s dive in!

Electrolyte Powder

Electrolyte powder is an essential item to have on hand when welcoming new chicks to your home or farm. During the first 24 hours, your chicks will require a boost of vitamins and minerals to support their health and development.

While you can purchase pre-made electrolyte powder from your local feed store, you can also make your own at home using warm sugar water.

However, it’s important to exercise caution when using electrolytes and/or apple cider vinegar (ACV), as overuse can lead to an overload of their little systems. Typically, it’s only necessary to use electrolyte powder for the first day or two if your chicks show signs of stress.

By providing your chicks with the necessary electrolytes, you can help ensure that they get off to a healthy start.

Chick Starter Feed

Chick starter feed is a crucial element for raising healthy chicks. It is formulated with the right balance of nutrients that growing chicks require for their proper growth and development. The starter feed should contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals to meet the nutritional requirements of your chicks. When shopping for chick starter feed, it is important to choose a high-quality brand that is suitable for your chicks’ age and breed.

In addition to regular chick starter feed, you may also consider purchasing medicated chick starter feed. This type of feed contains medication that helps to prevent coccidiosis, a common disease that can affect young chicks. Coccidiosis is caused by a parasite that thrives in damp and dirty environments, making it a common problem for backyard chicken keepers. Medicated chick starter feed contains a medication called Amprolium, which helps to prevent coccidiosis from occurring. However, it is important to note that medicated feed should only be given to chicks for a limited period, typically around the first eight weeks of their lives.

It’s important to keep your chicks’ feeders clean and filled with fresh food at all times. Chicks have a high metabolism and will eat often throughout the day. Providing a consistent supply of fresh food will ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Additionally, be sure to store your chick starter feed in a cool, dry place to prevent it from going stale or developing mold.

Wood Shavings/Chips

Wood shavings or chips are an important component of your chick’s living space. It is recommended that you line the bottom of your brooder with at least 2-3 inches of bedding material. The bedding should be changed frequently, especially if it becomes soiled or damp. This is important to maintain the hygiene of the brooder and prevent the spread of any disease or infection.

Pine shavings or chips are a popular option for bedding, as they are highly absorbent and have a natural fresh scent. However, you can also consider other materials such as aspen shavings, chopped straw, or shredded paper. Avoid using cedar shavings as they contain aromatic oils that can be harmful to your chicks’ respiratory system.

It’s important to ensure that the bedding you use is not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. You can purchase bedding from your local feed store or online, or you can make your own by shredding paper or using a wood chipper to create your own shavings.

Waterer and Feeder

Waterer and feeder are crucial items to have in your chick brooder. Without these, your chicks won’t have access to food and water, which can be detrimental to their health and growth. When purchasing a waterer and feeder, be sure to get ones that are specifically designed for baby chicks. These will be smaller in size and easier for your chicks to use.

The waterer should be cleaned and refilled with fresh water daily to ensure that your chicks always have access to clean water. It’s important to note that water is essential for your chicks’ health and development, and they can quickly become dehydrated without it. So, make sure the waterer is always full and clean.

As for the feeder, it should be filled with chick starter feed. This feed is specifically formulated for baby chicks and provides all the necessary nutrients for their growth and development. Fill the feeder as needed, and ensure that your chicks always have access to fresh feed. It’s also essential to clean the feeder regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and mold.

Heat Lamp or Brooder Plate

A heat lamp or brooder plate is a device that is commonly used to keep chicks warm during the early stages of their lives. Chicks are delicate creatures and require a specific temperature range to thrive. A heat lamp or brooder plate helps to maintain this temperature range by providing a source of heat.

When using a heat lamp, it’s essential to position it correctly to ensure that the chicks can regulate their temperature effectively. It’s recommended that you position the heat lamp at one end of the brooder box to create a temperature gradient. This gradient allows the chicks to move closer or further away from the heat source as needed, giving them the flexibility to maintain their body temperature.

Brooder plates, on the other hand, are flat heating devices that provide warmth from below. They are designed to mimic the warmth provided by a mother hen and create a more natural environment for the chicks. The temperature of the brooder plate is adjustable, allowing you to create a comfortable and consistent temperature for your chicks.

Both heat lamps and brooder plates are effective at keeping chicks warm and healthy, but they have different benefits and drawbacks. Heat lamps can be challenging to position correctly, and there is a risk of fire if they are not used carefully. Brooder plates are safer and more energy-efficient, but they are also more expensive.

Vet Supplies

It is highly recommended to have some essential veterinary supplies available in case your chicks fall sick or get injured. These supplies can come in handy during emergencies and can help you treat your chicks promptly. Some of the basic vet supplies you can keep on hand include wound ointment, antibiotics, and syringes for administering medication.

Wound ointment is useful for treating minor injuries and cuts that your chicks may sustain. It helps prevent infections and promotes healing. Similarly, antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections and prevent the infection from spreading to other birds in the flock.

It is crucial to use veterinary medications under the guidance of a qualified veterinarian. Therefore, before administering any medication to your chicks, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian who can provide you with the proper dosage and instructions on how to administer the medication correctly.

Having a well-stocked veterinary kit on hand can help you quickly and efficiently treat sick or injured chicks, and it can make a significant difference in their recovery. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep basic veterinary supplies on hand to ensure that your chicks remain healthy and happy.

Brooder or Coop

To ensure the health and safety of your chicks, it is essential to provide them with a suitable living environment. A brooder or coop is a great option for this purpose. If you choose to keep your chicks indoors, a brooder is an ideal choice. A brooder can be made from a variety of materials such as cardboard boxes, plastic tubs, or wooden crates. However, it should be large enough to provide ample space for your chicks to move around and have access to food and water.

If you are planning to raise your chicks outdoors, a coop will provide them with the necessary protection from predators. A coop can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, wire mesh, or even plastic. It should be sturdy and well-ventilated to ensure that your chicks are comfortable and healthy. Additionally, it is essential to consider the weather conditions in your area and make sure the coop is adequately protected from the elements.

Regardless of whether you choose a brooder or a coop, it is essential to keep the living space clean and dry to prevent the spread of diseases. It’s a good idea to change the bedding frequently and sanitize the area regularly. This will help keep your chicks healthy and happy.

Additional Items

There are a few other items you may want to consider getting before your chicks arrive:

  • Temperature Gauges Temperature is crucial for your chicks’ health and well-being. Make sure to purchase a thermometer or temperature gauge to monitor the temperature in your brooder. Ideally, the temperature should be around 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week and should be gradually lowered by 5 degrees each week until the chicks are fully feathered.
  • Baby Shampoo Pasty butt is a common issue that can affect young chicks, especially in the first few days after hatching. Pasty butt occurs when fecal matter becomes stuck to the chick’s vent area, blocking the passage of feces. This can be dangerous if left untreated, as it can lead to infection and even death. Baby shampoo can be used to help soften the pasty butt, making it easier to clean away. However, it’s important to be gentle when cleaning, as the chick’s connection to the yolk sac is located in this area. Pulling or picking can cause damage to this area and result in serious health issues.


Raising chicks requires careful planning and preparation to ensure that they grow up healthy and strong. It’s essential to have the right equipment and supplies to provide your chicks with the nutrients and care they need. From electrolyte powder to wood shavings, waterers, and feeders, to heat lamps and brooder plates, this article has provided a comprehensive list of essential items that you’ll need for your chicks. By following these guidelines and providing your chicks with a warm and safe environment, you’ll be able to watch them grow and thrive into happy and healthy chickens.

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About Jade Polystead

Jade is a homesteader with a passion for raising and caring for animals, specifically chickens, ducks, and goats. She was born and raised in a small town in the midwestern United States, where she learned to appreciate the simple pleasures of rural living.

Jade's interest in animal husbandry began at a young age when her family kept a small flock of chickens in their backyard. She quickly fell in love with the birds and became fascinated by their unique personalities and behaviors. As she grew older, Jade's interest in animal husbandry expanded to include other domesticated animals, such as ducks and goats.

View all posts by Jade Polystead

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